Thursday, April 17, 2008

Glacier Caving In Longyearbyen

There was an event prior to the expedition that I just mentioned briefly in the "An Eventful Day" entry. It was the ice caving trip.

Last time I was in Longyearbyen was in May. It was warm enough so all the glacier caves were closed due to water. I promised myself if I ever had the chance to come back to Longyear, I will do the glacier ice caving. So while waiting for the expedition, I had to do it. It was fun, tho the cost is a little on the steep side, but I think it's totally worth it.

Mark Abouzeid is an American Italian journalist who lives in Tuscany. He was off to a two day expedition to the Pole as a reporter. Mark and I went to the ice caving together. The cave is not as spectacular as some of limestone caves I have been to, but this is inside a glacier. That's what make it special. There were Xmas tree, chandeliers and crystal walls. Quite nice. However, the cave can be very slippery and dangerous. After all, we were walking on the smooth ice surface. I tried not injure myself since I was about to go on the expedition. The walk in the cave was okay until when we headed back out of the cave. That's when I slipped and hit the back of my head against the large piece of ice from which I slided off from. Luckily it wasn't bad, since my body took most of hit. I just got a little bump. But I was in panic. There was something dripping out of my hair. And that's when I made another mistake and stepped into a small water hole in front of me. The water got into my boots and was super cold. I didn't care. All I care was the dripping liquid from the back of my head. I had Mark to check for me. It was just the ice crystals melting from my head. Phew!

On the way back to the tour office, I was the driver. I dressed warm that day, but not for riding a scooter. I needed a face mask and gogles to protect my face from the wind. I got none! Mark and I were freezing on the way there so it would be hell on the way back too. So I thought what I could do to improve the situation. An idea came to mind: I could use the hood to protect my face instead of my head. I did not need the hood because I had the helmet. I ripped out the hood from the back of the jacket and and reconnect it to the front. It worked like a champ!

The tour operator (Poli Actici) is an Italian group so Mark felt right at home, speaking Italian. There are many operators for this kind of activities, but Poli Artici is the one using snowmobile to go to the ice cave. Snowmobile tour are really expensive, so we got a great deal combining both.

Mark described best what we saw and did in his blog. We had a great time riding the snowmobile, at least I did.

No comments: